Mitch Daniels’ Victories in the Pacific Northwest. Real or Imagined?

Bookmark and ShareOn Sunday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels won a straw poll of Republican leaders and activists at an annual meeting of the Oregon G.O.P.. Back in January, at a similar gathering in Washington State, Mitch Daniels won their straw poll too. It has been reported that these victories were achieved without any campaigning by Governor Daniels or any known organized effort on his behalf. So the question is, why is the Governor from the Midwest, so popular with the Republican establishment of the Pacific Northwest?

Interestingly, in both Washington and Oregon, there seems to be a bit of a consensus that it is Governor Daniels prowess with his state’s budget, and even more responsible than that, it seems to be his successful efforts in curtailing the abuses of big unions.

In an interview with White House 2012, when asked what accounts for Daniels’ popularity among Republican activists in the Northwest, Oregon National Committeeman and founder of the Republican National Committee’s Conservative Caucus, Solomon Yue, Jr., stated;

“I believe Northwestern Republicans appreciate the fact that Governor Daniels had used his executive order to strip state employee unions of their collective-bargaining power and the ability to collect dues by payroll deduction six years ago. He has achieved what most Republican governors are still fighting for – curtailing the collective-bargaining power of public-sector unions.”

Mr. Yue recently wrote a Washinton Times op-ed on Daniels’ handling of unions.

Yue is not alone in his thinking. On the condition of anonymity several Republican County Chairman in both Washington and Oregon, independently confirm Yue’s opinion as to why Daniels is popular among Republicans in the Pacific Northwest. One conservative Washington County Republican chair who voted for Tim Pawlenty in the January 31st straw poll, says that those who voted in the Republican gathering in Washington State, “looked at his [Mitch Daniels] ability to bring a state that had as a big a budget mess as Indiana, and bring it into good fiscal circumstances, and liked what they saw and voted for him” They add that what Daniels did Indiana “was impressive”.

The same G.O.P. leader also credits Daniels popularity in the region to the fact that the wave that the nation saw in 2010, didn’t make it to Washington state. They add, “Washington and Oregon have a substantial moderate influence in them”. Another point made was that the Republican conference in Washington that made Daniels the winner of their straw poll “had a higher percentage of young people in attendance and they are more moderate of what is typical.”

But a former Republican operative and leader in Washington State’s Pacific County has a different opinion. They tell White House 2012 the following;

“Mitch Daniels is not that popular in Washington and Oregon. He is relatively unknown.. except among political wonks.”

That same figureadds that those in attendance at the Washington and Oregon conferences “were NOT the Republican Committees that voted in a straw poll. They claim that these events…….

“were attended by a wide variety of center-right political activists. They are not part of the Republican Party. They are organized and sponsored by conservative and Republican political operatives”

Theformer leader and stillGOP insider adds;

“The attendees consist of politically minded people who favor fiscal conservatives. The nature of the conferences tends not to focus on social conservative issues. Hence, the people who attend are somewhat like the candidate.”

This explanation tends to make a bit more sense. For while Washington and Oregon may have their own problems with public service unions, they are no worse off than other states which are seeing similar problems. Therefore, I can’t see why the way Mitch Daniels handled unions in his state, would stand out so much more among Republicans in the Pacific Northwest than it does, say in the South or states like Iowa.

But the opinions I have gathered confirm a few things. First, they do make it clear that Mitch Daniels has a solid reputation among Republican activists on fiscal issues, a still most important one as we move closer to the 2012 election. It also proves that Mitch Daniels still has some problems with social conservatives. This is in itself odd because while Mitch Daniels actually has one of the most socially conservative records of all the possible Republican presidential contenders, he is not known for his political stances on those issues which he once famously stated that Republicans should “call a truce” on. That remark has hurt him among social conservatives who now doubt Daniels’ commitment to the issues important to them. While this may not help Daniels with the far right base of the Party, it does help him in what one Republican county chairman from Oregon calls their “moderate” base.

The funny thing is that the far right might eventually come to see strength in Mitch’s, ‘actions speak louder than words’ approach to their social agenda. They might also come to understand that what Mitch meant by his call for a truce, is that we must prioritize and right now the priority is jobs, our fragile economy, and our crushing national debt.

The fact that such things are a priority for Mitch Daniels are the very same reasons why the more moderate “higher percentage of young people” who attended the recent Republican gathering in Oregon, tend to support Mitch. It may also eventually be realized that if Republicans are going to remain competitive as we move forward, they will need these younger, more moderate voters behind them, as they are with Mitch Daniels.

Either way, Mitch Daniels’ straw poll victories in the Pacific Northwest are not necessarily representative of the opinion on the street, but it does show that he has some committed activists who may be important in organizing at the grassroots level. And while the results of the Washington and Oregon straw polls may not be a true precursor of things to come, one thing is quite clear, Mitch Daniels’ reputation on economic matters, budgets and his handling of unions, precedes him and it helps him. It helps among Republican of all stripes.

In Oregon, another Republican County leader who did not attend the recent Dorchester event where the Republican straw poll was taken, said she was “surprised” by the results but added “the more I learn about Mitch Daniels, the more I am impressed by him”.

It remains to be seen if the Daniels’ winning streak in the Northwest corner of the nation can be maintained elsewhere. Other straw polls of similar Republican activists in places like Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire have not produced the same winning results. But that could change if Mitch Daniels becomes an actual presidential candidate. However; that decision may now lie in the hands of Democrats in the Indiana state legislature. Mitch Daniels has promised not to make a decision on a run for President till the end of the Indiana state legislative session which is suppose to be in April. But now, thanks to a confrontation between them and Daniels on the issue of unions, Democrats are holding the Daniels agenda hostage and risk extending the legislative session too long for him to enter the presidential race.

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels Wins Oregon Republican Contest

Bookmark and Share At an annual gathering of Oregon Republicans, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels won a presidential straw poll.

Of 225 votes cast, Daniels won 66 votes to Mitt Romneys 51 and Sarah Palins 41 votes.

In an interview with the Oregonian, Republican political consultant Rick Thomas accredited Daniels win to what he called wonky political insiders who are attracted to the conference.

According to reporter Jeff Mapes, Rick Thomas made it clear that Nobody really had any organizing going on at this point. At these type of state Party events straw polls are heavily campaigned at by the campaigns of the potential candidates who lobby participants for their vote. The fact that there was no coordinated effort behind the Daniels win, makes the results even more interesting. Could Mitch Daniels actually be rising to the top of the field naturally?

A few weeks ago, a similar straw poll in Washington state also produced winning results for Daniels.

The unmanaged coincidence of these results begs the question, what makes Mitch Daniels so strong among the G.O.P. activist base in the Northwest of the nation? The next question is can Daniels translate whatever is responsible for the results in Oregon in Washington, in other regions of the nation, like the North East, Mid-West and South.

If so, the G.O.P. could have itself a nominee and not even realize it yet.

Of course Mitch Daniels would have to run to become the nominee and although that decision was expected in April, it could be delayed or derailed by his state legislature which risks dragging out the legislative session which Daniels said would have to end before he makes a decision on the presidency.

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels: Providing Economic Security Rather Than Hopeless Change in the 2012

Bookmark and Share As terrorism misleadingly fades from the headlines, and the lack of economic security and proliferation of national debt surpasses it as the greatest security threat to the United States, Americans are floundering in an almost hopeless sense of insecurity. This insecurity is made evident by such things as talk and fear of inflation, a double dip recession, continued unemployment rates that approach double digits, and in election results that have the American electorate erratically swinging firmly toward one political Party, and then the other, from one election to the next.

As such, as we approach the 2012 presidential election, it should be understood that aside from the intricacies and specifics of any one issue, the ability to exploit that overriding sense of insecurity is what may be the key to victory in 2012. While specifics are important and while the need for details and clearly laid out plans surely exist, todays attention deficit disorder dominated American society has a very short attention span when it comes to political minutia. This is indeed part of the reason why Hope and Change was so successful in 2008. Aside from then Senator Obamas desire to redistribute the wealth, most Americans, particularly younger Americans, relished the thought of hope and change and such phrases as redistribute the wealth lacked as much meaning to them than did the catchier Obama campaign slogan.

In 1980, while Ronald Reagan offered his own specifics, they were buoyed by his optimistic themes about restoring faith in America once again. Such thematic campaigns often win the day and in 2012, the same can again be the case by tapping into similar plays on our emotions. But whom among the potential names in the evolving Republican presidential field can do so on the issue of the economy, from a foundation so solid that their words can be believed and seen as more than just mere rhetoric?

Insofar as the issues du jour .the economy, the budget, debt, unemployment, etc, etc, several names have the ability to tap in to the economic insecurities that Americans have about our nations future. Haley Barbour and Rick Perry come to mind. So do the names of Jim DeMint and Jon Huntsman. All of these men are viewed as strong deficit hawks. Jim DeMint has accrued his record as such in the Senate while Barbour, Perry and Huntsman have put together records earning them that description as the Governors of Mississippi, Texas and Utah, respectively. Other names can also compete among them, but all those names bring to the table either aesthetics or other issues that will be hard to overcome in the reality of todays politics.

Barbours heavy Southern drawl oozes the type of White, Southern, Male, Confederate, image that can be hard to sell outside of Dixie. Governor Rick Perry has less of that same drawl, but enough to remind Americans of his predecessor, former Texas Governor and President George W. Bush. Selling another Texan so soon after G.W. may be another hard sell. Former Utah Governor and soon to be former Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman has different problems. Statements in support of gay rights and same sex marriage that he made as Governor of conservative Utah, may hamper his ability to overcome the social conservatives in his own Party. And while Jim DeMint would not have such a problem with social conservatives, he would certainly encounter an extremist image problem among the broader electorate.

All potentially powerful names on the economy come with their own unique set of drawbacks. Mitt Romneys superb business background and decent economic record in Massachusetts is drowned out by the creation of what is seen as the precursor to Obamacare. New Jerseys Chris Christie could be a promising prospect, but he has been in office for barley two years and continues to claim that short of suicide, he can do no more to make it clear that he is not running in 2012.

But there is one name among just about all others that lacks the baggage that others do not. One name simply radiates security and economic stability. One name should please TEA Party movement members, moderates and conservatives alike. It is that of Mitch Daniels, the two term Governor of Indiana.

Mitch Daniels is a quiet doer. He does not rattle the cages for the sake of making noise and he does not seek to be a revolutionary figure. He simply seeks to do things right and since becoming Governor of Indiana in 2004, Mitch Daniels has been doing everything right.

When he first assumed office, Daniels inherited an $800 million deficit and by the time he was running for reelection in 2008, that deficit was turned in to a $1.3 billion surplus. And while governments in most other states have increased in size, Mitch Daniels has shrunk both the size and cost of government. Currently the state its smallest number of state employees since 1983. And while reducing the existing size of government he also reduced the growth rate of state spending from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. All of which had much to do with his having once turned an $800 million deficit into a $1.3 billion surplus.

Governor Daniels has also created what is considered one of the best business environments in the nation and while Indiana has not been immune from the national recession and the double hit of Obamanomics, its unemployment rate has for the most part remained below the high national average. Such masterful handling of his own states economy can and will go very far in offering Americans the sense of economic security and leadership that they are crying out for but not finding.

It is part of the reason why Mitch won his 2008 reelection by an 18% margin. Not a bad margin of victory, especially when you consider the fact that at the same time, a majority of Indiana voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama for President. Furthermore; while more than 94% of all African Americans who voted, voted for President Obama, Mitch Daniels received 20% of those same African-American voters. That is an unusually high percentage for any Republican anywhere. But on top of that, the makeup of Mitch Daniels reelection victory was comprised of 51 percent of the youth vote, 67 percent of the elderly, 57 percent of independent voters and even 24 percent of the Democrats in the state. All of which means that Mitch Daniels has crossover appeal.

Generally a low-key, unassuming man, Daniels doesnt package himself as some sort of political rock star. He is the anti-Obama who avoids the trappings of many politicians who invoke the expertise of handlers. He writes his own speeches, and in many cases, his own campaign ads too. And while his speeches may lack some of the jingoisms and flare that wrap his words up in brightly covered packages, he does speak from the heart and addresses the issues in quite substantive detail. But at the same time, Daniels speeches do convey an earthy, down-home, heartland appeal that President Obama lacks.

Daniels once stood before his state legislature and told them you dont know who was naked until the tide goes out. The remark was made in regards to the fiscal condition of Indiana, the state he has governed for 7 years now. It eluded to the fact that as the tides of the economies of the nation and Indianas neighboring states went out, Indiana was found to be wearing clothes while the others were naked. Those clothes were there because Mitch Daniels did not strip the people of Indiana of their economic future and security. The same can not be said of President. Which is why for all the right reasons Mitch Daniels is the perfect anti-Obama for Republicans to run in 2012.

In the final analysis, while there are far too many variables for anyone to accurately and confidently say who will actually be the Republican presidential nominee, I foresee the possibility of a scenario which could lead Mitch Daniels to not only the Republican presidential nomination but the presidency itself. But much of this scenario relies upon two factors. First is that President Obama continues to falter and that he fails to ever fully gain the confidence of the majority of American voters on two issues, the economy and his fervent liberal ideological bend. The other is that Mitch Daniels goes through a nomination process which ultimately proves him to be the true anti-Obama. It also relies on one other factor .the one that has Mitch Daniels actually throw his hat in the ring.

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels Discusses His Drug Related Arrest

Bookmark and Share Back in 1970, a young , college kid named Mitch Daniels was arrested for possession of marijuana and following a plea bargain, was fined $350.00 for disorderly conduct.

The incident has been no secret. In fact in the interview below this account Daniels states that he admitted the incident when he applied for his first job. According to Daniels as it turns outt he believes it was the best thing he ever did because had he not been honest about it, he would never have gotten that job. It would be safe to also add that his career may have then taken a much different path had he not gotten that job.

This episode in Daniels’ life comes up now because he recently volunteered it in an interview with his the Daily Princetonian the university newspaper of his alma mater Princeton.

It also probably comes because if one wishes to run President it is best to turn what could be problematic, in to water under the bridge and the only way for Mitch to do that is to let it pass now rather than later. If Mitch Daniels was not open and honest about such a past transgression, he probably would have never been elected Governor. But as it turns out he was honest and he was elected Governor. The question now is can he become President?

But before we can answer that we must ask is he even running?

Given his willingness to discuss his past disorderly conduct charge at this point in time, leads me to think that he will run. Or at the very least is actually giving ittruly seriousconsideration.

If he does run I am sure the issue will still come up though. And when it does will it be held against Mitch Daniels? Well, drug use wasnt held against Bill Clinton and it was not held against our current President so why should it be held against Daniels?

It shouldnt. The only difference between Daniels experience and our other Presidents is that he was caught. But like the others he was honest about it. Not doing so would have been the scandal.

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels Clarifies His Position On Democratic Lawmaker’s Protests

Bookmark and Share Mitch Daniels answers questions regarding 37 Indiana Democrat legislators, who like Wisconsin Senate Democrats have fled their state as a sign of protest over posed budgetary repair measures that affect unions.

The Governor also responds to critics of him that believe he called such protests legitimate. Daniels apologized for not making clear that he meant the union members who are their protesting have a legitimate to do so not the legislators who are shirking their legislative responsibilities by hiding in Chicago.

Daniels also adds that perhaps Illinois is a good place for them to spend time because after seeing how spending has left that state in the red and left them with a crumbling infrastructure, may be they will learn a lesson from being there.

Bookmark and Share

Bush Endorses Mitch Daniels for President?

Bookmark and Share In Abel Harding’s Politijax colum for the Florida Time Union’s Jacksonville.com, Jeb Bush is quoted as being quite supportive of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels‘s possiblt run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Abel writes;

“Jeb Bush likes Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ 2012 presidential prospects. The former Florida governor told a private gathering of Jacksonville business leaders that Daniels is the only potential candidate he’s heard who demonstrates a willingess to face up to harsh realities.

“Mitch is the only one who sees the stark perils and will offer real detailed proposals,” he said, speaking at a reception held before he took the stage in front of a crowd of real estate professionals.

Bush acknowledged that Daniels is absent the smooth, television-friendly delivery present in other hopefuls, but said voters were looking for a direct approach.

“He would be the anti-Obama, at least socially,” Bush said. “He’s not good on a teleprompter, but if my theory is right that could work well for him.”

For my part, in the past I too have callled Mitch Daniels the “anti-Obama” but while I have admitted that he may lack the rock star-like persona that Barack Obama has been accused of having, I must say that I believe Mitch Daniels speeches have a homey, down to earth, heartland appeal that President Obama lacks. And if my theory is right that “will” work well for him.

But it is also worth noting that Jeb Bush is not the only possible or once popular presidential contenders to offering near endorsements of a Mitch Daniels presidency. Back in October of 2010 I blogged about the praise that was heaped on to him by possible opponents Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich.

Gingrich apparently admires Daniels so much that he once publicly encouraged to run. And not long ago, so did Haley Babrour.

Of DanielsHuckabee said I tend to think governors make good presidents because theyve actually managed a microcosm of the federal government. He added Mitch Daniels has done, I think an exemplary job as a leader, manager and governor of the state,.

Right now there seems to be one thing that all the possible presidentia contenders agree and that is that Mitch Daniels is a good man for the job of President. Will they still agree if hebeats them in Iowa and New Hampshire?

Bookmark and Share

Mitch Daniels Shows the GOP How to Fight Obamacare

Bookmark and Share As Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels waits for the end of his states legislative session and takes the time to make a decision about a possible run for President in 2012, he recently stepped forward to take a strong lead in opposition to Obamacare. Earlier this week, he sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In it he laid out six aspects that the law and Federal government must correct or revise if the states are ever going to take control as intended in the health care law. Daniels adds that if these six areas are not taken care of, the Federal government must take the responsibility of carrying out its mandates, itself. Daniels note that up to now, 21 Governors representing more than 115 million Americans have signed on to the same letter .

Governor Daniels also wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal that took no hostages in a scathing analysis of Obamacare, as right off the bat he wrote;

Unless you’re in favor of a fully nationalized health-care system, the president’s health-care reform law is a massive mistake. It will amplify all the big drivers of overconsumption and excessive pricing: “Why not, it’s free?” reimbursement; “The more I do, the more I get” provider payment; and all the defensive medicine the trial bar’s ingenuity can generate.

“All claims made for it were false. It will add trillions to the federal deficit. It will lead to a de facto government takeover of health care faster than most people realize, and as millions of Americans are added to the Medicaid rolls and millions more employees (including, watch for this, workers of bankrupt state governments) are dumped into the new exchanges.

He added;

For state governments, the bill presents huge new costs, as we are required to enroll 15 million to 20 million more people in our Medicaid systems () This is a huge burden for our state, and yet another incremental expenditure the law’s authors declined to account for truthfully.

For those who are willing to read between the lines of Mitch Daniels WSJ piece, it is easy to see that Mitch Daniels is enabling himself to establish a campaign for President that can strongly and convincingly argue against Obamacare and put the issues of states rights in to the forefront. That is an issue that will be an issue the 2012 campaign that will factor strongly in appealing to TEA movement voters.

But as for now, Governor Daniels has demonstrated that on the issue of Obamacare, he will certainly have the ability to put President Obama on the defensive, probably better than many other candidates.

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: